Tiger Hattori has called it a career. After 42 years of being a wrestler, a trainer, a manager and most notably the senior referee in NJPW, Hattori has retired.
Born Masao Hattori, Hattori was given the name ‘Tiger’ by promoter ‘Cowboy’ Bill Watts.
The retirement event had more of a casual vibe to it as Hattori himself has a playful personality.
Colt Cabana joined Chaos in saying thank you to Hattori for all his dedication and hard work. As a tribute to him, Okada allowed Hattori to pin him with a three count.
The NJPW locker room poses with Tiger Hattori. Photo: NJPW.
Tiger wiped away some tears as Chaos left the ring.
Jushin Thunder Liger himself led the rest of the NJPW talent to the ring. The group included Katsuyori Shibata.
The NJPW referees presented Hattori with a special referee jersey signed by all of them. That gesture brought more tears to his eyes.
Tiger pins Okada. Photo: NJPW.
NJPW president Harold Meij and Chairman Naoki Sugabayashi paid their respects as well presenting Hattori with the traditional bouquets of flowers.
Wrestling greats Hiroshi Hase, The Great Kabuki, Riki Choshu and Keiji Mutoh (The Great Muta) came out to honour Hattori’s legacy.
There was also a video message from Antonio Inoki. Before he took to the microphone, the crowd chanted “Thank you, Tiger!” in unison.
The NJPW officials honour Tiger. Photo: NJPW.
“I have spent my whole life loving this sport that is professional wrestling. There is so much happy moments and sadness. There is so much team work, so much backstabbing in this business but it has been a hell of a journey. Thank you to everyone who supports this business that we are all a part of,” said Tiger to the fans in Korakuen Hall.
Keiji Mutoh (The Great Muta), Riki Choshu, The Great Kabuki and Hiroshi Hase pose with Tiger. Photo: NJPW.
“I will forever treasure this moment and all the moments that I have had in this business,” he said also extending a note of appreciation to everyone who is involved with making NJPW what it is today.
Hattori closed his eyes as the ring bell was sounded 10 times in his honour.
The NJPW talent then hoisted him into the air in celebration of his career.
Earlier in the evening during his two retirement matches Hattori made his presence felt more than just slapping the canvass and enforcing the rules. He kicked Gedo in the “lower abdomen” when Gedo threatened him during his first retirement match and did the same to Jado when he swung his kendo stick at him. Hattori then threw up his fist with the rest of Los Ingobernables de Japon after they beat Choas in the last official match.
In other matches:
Toa Henare, Tomoaki Honma and Togi Makabe versus Yuya Uemura, Yota Tsuji and Gabriel Kidd
Toa Henare pinned Gabriel Kidd. After the match, Tsuji traded blows with Makabe. Henare floored Tsuji as well.
Winners: Toa Henare, Tomoaki Honma and Togi Makabe.
Ryusuke Taguchi, Rocky Romero and Tiger Mask versus Will Ospreay, Sho and Yoh
Will Ospreay put Tiger Mask down for the 1, 2 , 3 with Storm Breaker. Romero and Taguchi got into it with Sho and Yoh as the others tried to separate them. Sho and Yoh face Ryusuke Taguchi and Rocky Romero for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship tomorrow night.
Winners: Will Ospreay, Sho and Yoh.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi, Evil and Bushi) versus Juice Robinson, David Finlay and Yoshi-Hashi
A Left Hand of God, a Stunner and Pulp Friction pins Bushi.
Winners: Will Ospreay, Sho and Yoh.
Satoshi Kojima, Manabu Nakanishi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Yuji Nagata versus Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
Kojima pinned Kanemaru with the Lariat.
Winners: Satoshi Kojima, Manabu Nakanishi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Yuji Nagata.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Toru Yano and Colt Cabana versus Bullet Club (Jay White, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa and Bad Luck Fale) – Tiger Hattori Retirement Match
Yano and Cabana double-teamed Fale for the win.
Winners: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Toru Yano and Colt Cabana.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Sanada and Shino Takagi) versus Chaos (Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii and Hirooki Goto) – Tiger Hattori Retirement Match
Sanada put Goto away with a roll-up.
Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Sanada and Shino Takagi).